On 4 September 2012, a few weeks before the publication of En Abîme, I receive an email from Mike Cooper from Rome, saying he’d been walking along the river Tiber and had come across some pages from Melville’s diaries and Pasolini’s poems “that are attached to the wall along the Tiber as part of an installation that has been there for some years. The pieces (maybe you know them?) are set in huge glass boxes attached to the stone walls quite close to Castel Sant’Angelo – over the years they have been abused and nature has had a hand in transforming them into something other than what they started out as – now they resemble something the Spanish painter Antoni Tàpies might have made. Good luck with the book – I look forward to reading it.”
Although I lived in Rome for over ten years, I was never aware of those journals and poems under damaged glass boxes. And yet some of those quotes appear in my book. And Mike, in turn – who appears as a faint reflection at the end of the photo sequence below – is not aware of the fact that he is too in my book, in the same pages as the quotes by Melville and Pasolini that he came across and posted to me.
En Abîme, of layers and surfaces, receives pictures of more layers and surfaces, dust, leaves, pages. Overground and buried.
[all pictures by Mike Cooper, September 2012]
Rome: “uncertain shape like of a fire / in the fire of a New Prehistory”.